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SKAI Lunch Menu, Swissotel The Stamford

Go!!!

Taking over the space of Equinox on the 70th floor of Swissotel The Stamford is SKAI, a contemporary grill helmed by Chef Paul Hallett. As with all atas places with a ceiling to floor view of the CBD area and a great ambience, the hack is to have their lunch sets which promises you all the frills without burning a hole in your pocket.

As soon as the lift door opens you are greeted with the warmth of overflowing natural sunlight. The super high ceiling gives this place a feeling of grandeur, lifting your spirits instantly.

The interior is simple yet classy. Love the woody textures overlaid with various greens scattered around the place.

The view from my table. Protip: if you’re there to impress, do request for a table by the window prior to your reservation.

For lunch, a 2 course set menu will set you back by $39++ while a 3 course set will set you back by $45++. Needless to say, I went for the 3 course set because you get one more dish for only $6++!

Freshly baked sourdough served with mushroom butter.

Hehe, one of the things I look forward to at such posh restaurants is the bread basket. The bread was so crusty! Left a whole trail of breadcrumbs on my table.

Appetizer: Yellow Fin Tuna with Kohlrabi Remoulade, Watercress, Rice Crisp

The rhapsody of elements in this dish makes every bite a different and refreshing experience. You wouldn’t think that some of the components would make a big difference because they seem so innocuous.

Appetizer: Cauliflower Soup with Roasted Eggplant, Enoki and Truffle

If I were to give a name to this dish, I would call it The Girl Next Door. The whole dish looks really plain and simple, until you take the first scoop. The soup was extremely smooth and you could tell that it’s filled with the natural sweetness of the cauliflower. Also, check out the amount of truffle shavings!

Main: Stanbroke Wagyu Petite Tender with Endive Salad and Asian Spice

Did you know that tenderloins are the most tender part of the cow since this muscle does very little work? It’s perfect for grilling and has that melt in your mouth texture. Super pleased they serve this part for lunch because again, this 3 course meal is only $45++!!!

Look at that pinkish, juicy meat!

Dessert: Exotic Trifle — Coconut, Mango Compote, Lemongrass Sorbet

This dessert is served as a mini show. The staff will pour water into the glass dome containing dry ice in front of you. I knew what was coming but I couldn’t help feeling like a little girl feeling excited and in awe. A pity the dry ice ran out too quickly.

Dessert: Earl Grey Parfait — Raspberry, Citrus Jelly, Yoghurt Ice Cream

Where is the earl grey you wonder? It’s in that hexagonal biscuit looking thing! Because of the sweet and sour details of this dish, you’ll find yourself wanting more and more after every bite.

SKAI lunch sets are a really good deal given the amount of creativity and variation going into each dish. I had a great experience there, and so will you.

2 Stamford Road, Level 70, S(178882)

Lunch: Mondays to Fridays 12noon to 230pm, Saturdays 12noon to 330pm

+65 6837 3322

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Shang Pin Hot Pot, Marina Square and Rendezvous Hotel

Go!!!

Step out of the comforts of Hai Di Lao and Beauty in the Pot. Shang Pin Hotpot at Marina Square and Rendezvous Hotel is arguably the most affordable alternative to the two big players. As a bonus, there’s hardly any queue especially at the Marina Square branch because the floor area is huge!

I’ve visited both branches and there’s a stark contrast in ambience and service between both branches. Go for the Marina Square branch if you can.

I’ve included pictures from both Marina Square and Rendezvous Hotel just to show you the contrast.

Exterior and interior of Rendezvous Hotel branch (my pictures look better than the reality!):

Exterior and interior of Marina Square branch, so huge that they have a children’s play area:

Below pictures are a mix from both branches; quality is similar with some differences which I’ll mention.

(L) Tomato Soup, (R) Pig Stomach and Chicken Soup, (M) Mushroom Soup.

The price of the soup is dependent on the most expensive soup you’ve selected. It doesn’t matter if you select one, two or three soups, they charge you only for one soup base. In this case, the pig stomach was the most expensive at $20.

Meat Festival, $24.

I giggled at the name of the dish. At one point the service at Rendezous was so slow that I had to ask the staff “is my Meat Festival coming soon?” Apart from that, good quality slices of beef, mutton and pork. The beef was really fatty though.

Fish Egg Ball (half portion), $6.

Ordered this in lieu of fancy pastes. Unlike HDL and BITP, Shang Pin’s pastes are rather ordinary and common. This was the most interesting fresh paste ball out of the entire selection.

(L) Mushroom Platter (half portion), $7. (R) Cabbage (full portion), $4.

I thought the mushroom platter was value for money. 5 different types of mushrooms for $7! The mushrooms here are about $5 to $6 for full portions so the amount you pay for variety is well spent.

Fried Beancurd Skin (full portion), $6.

I ordered this dish at both outlets but somehow it seems like ordering the half portion is more worth it. The above picture has 6 rolls (Rendezvous Hotel) but when I ordered the half portion for $3 (Marina Square), I got 4 rolls! So I should be getting 8 rolls at Rendezvous but somehow only got 6. Hmm.

Shrimp Paste (half portion), $7.

This is a must order when you’re here. The shrimp paste was crunchy and fresh.

Shang Pin Beef, $16.

The Rendezous Hotel one came rather frozen, causing its texture to be a little rough after cooking. The Marina Square (above) came thawed and fresh looking.

US Beef (half portion), $7.

My advice is to skip this and go straight for the Shang Pin Beef. The difference is only $2 for the full portion but the quality is so, so different.

US Black Pork (half portion), $6.50.

Look at the balance of fats to lean meat! I only thought it was slightly unsightly that the meat was cut in half. Doesn’t have that shiok feeling if you know what I mean.

Chinese Dumplings (half portion), $2.50.

The dumplings were normal tasting. What caught my attention writing this part was that I realised I had 6 dumplings for $2.50. Not sure if they had mistakenly given me the full portion but if not, $2.50 for 6 dumplings is so worth it!

Overall, you can expect the price per pax to be about $40. It’s still not really within the budget of an everyday hotpot meal, but it’s slightly cheaper than HDL and much cheaper than BITP. There’s no fancy waitressing or gifts at all, but the amount of food you get here is definitely more than the other two places. The variety at Shang Pin honestly is not as great, but it suffices. Best of all, NO LONG QUEUES!

Marina Square

6 Raffles Boulevard, #02-102, S(039594)

+65 6565 7666

Daily: 11am to 12am

Rendezvous Hotel

9 Bras Basah Road, #02-02, S(189559)

+65 6238 7666

Daily: 12 noon to 12am

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Cafe Mosaic, Carlton Hotel

Worth a try (if you love oysters).

I fondly remember my experience at Cafe Mosaic’s dinner buffet over Christmas a few years ago, so when my husband jioed me to eat this buffet again I was pumped! He used the Chope 1 for 1 deal, equivalent to $88++ for 2 adults.

Was it worth it? Depends on whether you can eat a lot of oysters.

Oyster station.

Pick out your oysters and the chef will shuck them for you on the spot. I liked that the oysters were pretty big and fresh. The blue light from the station was quite blinding though. Probably their way of making you slow down on the oysters.

Crustaceon station.

I can’t help but think that buffets that put out the mini lobsters look alike are in fact just trying to increase the value of the buffet.

Sashimi and sushi station. The normal stuff here.

Rojak station.

I love a good rojak station where I can control the amount of spice and sugar I add into my rojak. This station wasn’t exactly fantastic, but it had the bare essentials.

Noodle station.

Uniquely, they serve Mee Sua which I enjoyed! Remember to add the vinegar.

Fried Carrot Cake.

This is one of the highlights of the buffet. When eaten hot, the carrot cake was super flavourful and satisfying. It certainly deserves seconds but unfortunately when I took my second serving they had already pre-cooked a lot and hence I didn’t get a piping hot one.

Cooked food station.

The cooked food station had the usual fare — sweet and sour pork, seafood in Thai style sauce, but what I liked from here (and was hot in demand throughout the night) was the crayfish!

Most crayfish at buffets tend to be really tough and tasteless, but this dish was really tender and juicy. I’m not sure if it’s because of the chef’s skill, or because they had to churn this dish so quickly that the meat wasn’t overcooked.

Dessert section.

Looking at my pictures now, I think I was so unimpressed with Cafe Mosaic’s desserts that I was uninspired to take good pictures. The desserts tasted as good as they looked, rather meh.

The ice creams were so much better! Apart from the usual strawberry and chocolate, they also serve Thai milk tea flavour. The ice cream counter definitely helped to raise the bar of the dessert space a little higher. My favourite was the lemon ice cream.

Overall, I thought that the buffet spread was too limited for the price I paid. Yes they had oysters and crayfish but that was pretty much it. What really irked me was they had one whole area (the long space equivalent to the cooked food counter pictured above) filled with fruits. It really gave the whole buffet a cheapened feeling, and I was super put off by that sight. This would be my last time at Cafe Mosaic for their buffet dinner.

76 Bras Basah Road, Carlton Hotel Level 1, S(189558)

Daily dinner: 6pm to 10pm

+65 6311 8195

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Kai Garden, Marina Square

Go!!!

Okay so in my world of dim sum I’ve only regarded Imperial Treasures Nan Bei Takashimaya as the place to go to for great dim sum. I can now add another place to that — Kai Garden.

Kai Garden at Marina Square is opened by chef Fung Chi Keung, previously from Paradise Group, the people behind the famous colourful Xiao Long Bao. The Cantonese restaurant prides itself on their Peking Duck, known for different flavoured wraps and dips. I was excited to try it, until I saw their executive set lunch.

Without second thoughts I ordered Set Lunch A to share with my partner. No point having two of the same set, plus, Kai Garden’s dim sum menu looked too appealing. So I added some dim sum to the lunch.

Honey BBQ Pork, Deep Fried Beancurd Roll with Prawns, Sliced Peking Duck with Condiments.

Daily Double Boiled Soup.

Baked Cod Fillet with Teriyaki Sauce with Enoki Wrapped in Kurobuta Pork.

Pan Seared Glutinuous Rice with Egg and Black Truffle.

Chilled Fresh Coconut Puree.

I looked forward to every dish, and for sure I wasn’t disappointed. Every dish was well executed and tasty.

While the dishes sound ordinary, it was the little touches that really made the dish a notch higher. For example, the baked cod fish was placed on a crispy biscuit of sorts. Very innovative.

I particularly liked the fresh coconut puree because this was my first time having something like that at a Chinese restaurant for dessert. It was refreshing and cooling, perfect way to end the meal on a light note.

Deep Fried Scallop with Mango Roll, $6.80.

The mango roll was really light and crispy! The sauce within also complemented it really well, not too much not too little. Highly recommend this dim sum.

Steamed Prawn Dumpling (Ha Gao), $6.50.

The skin of any Ha Gao is always the hardest to get right. I gave this a thumbs up because of that reason. The prawns within were big and crunchy as well but the skin was the winner for me.

Crispy Cheong-fun with Minced Mushrooms, $5.60.

When I saw crispy cheong-fun I immediately thought it was you tiao wrapped in cheong-fun skin and topped with minced mushrooms. Nope, it wasn’t like that. Instead, the insides of the cheong-fun were filled with fluffy and crunchy bits alongside the minced mushroom. To help maintain the crispyness, the cheong-fun sauce is left by the side and you should only dip a piece into the sauce before eating. I highly recommend this dish as well.

By now you would have noticed that Kai Garden comes with a steep price tag. It may seem that a $6.50 Ha Gao is too much for dim sum but think about the other dishes. For its creativity, exquisiteness and ambience, I’d say Kai Garden is worth every penny and calorie.

6 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square, #03-128A/128B, S(039594)

Weekdays: 1130am to 330pm, 6pm to 11pm

Weekends: 11am to 4pm, 6 to 11pm

+65 6250 4826

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Kuro Izakaya, Suntec City Tower 3

Worth a try.

Everybody loves to chill over bar bites and beer after work. Bonus points added if a place that has this combi is situated at the heart of town. Located at Suntec Tower 3, Kuro Izakaya easily attracts the working crowd when the sun goes down.

To find Kuro Izakaya, you’ll have to walk to Suntec Tower 3 (where Oppo, Harvey Norman, Timberland, GV movie are situated) and exit towards the taxi stand. It’s located outside of the building.

They have a huge range of Japanese whiskeys and beer, perfect for pairing with your bar bites (well they do have staples such as ramen and Japanese curry, but it’s really out of the place to be having those items here).

Pork Jowl, $5. Scallops wrapped in Bacon (Tare and Shio versions), $6. Pork Belly (Tare and Shio versions), $4. Enoki wrapped in Bacon, $4.

Chicken Breast with Mentaiko, $4.

The best kushiyaki? Pork Jowl, followed by Scallops wrapped in Bacon (Tare version). I tried both the tare (sweet sauce) and shio (salted) versions and I very much preferred the tare one. The scallops were huge and juicy, which I really appreciated. As for the pork jowl, I do think that it’s quite difficult to go wrong with it as the texture of the meat is excellent to begin with.

I thought I would like the Chicken Breast with Mentaiko, but unfortunately the breast meat was way too tough. Wrong choice of meat, Kuro Izakaya. Chicken thighs would have been much, much better. Either that, or you make sure you cook your breast meat well.

Kuro Izakaya is a nice and cozy place to chill, but I don’t think I’ll be back again as their kushiyakis aren’t well executed, and the place is seriously lacking in variety. Once is enough for me.

6 Temasek Boulevard, #01-604, S(038986)

Mondays to Thursdays: 1130am to 230pm, 5pm to 11pm

Fridays: 1130am to 230pm, 5pm to 1130pm

Saturdays and Sundays: 1130am to 230pm, 5pm to 10pm

+65 6235 1066

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Anti:Dote, Fairmont Hotel

Worth a try.

Located at Fairmont Hotel within Raffles City, getting there was a breeze. Be careful not to walk into Swissotel The Stamford instead of Fairmont. Parking rates are exorbitant at this area so stick to the good ol’ trusted public transport.


Maybe I was overhyped by other food blogs stating how awesome this high tea set was, but for the price I paid, I sincerely expected better. Firstly, I was the first to reach at 230pm and albeit early, they were kind enough to show me my seat and explain what each high tea set comprised. I thought I would be eagerly exploring my tea set at 3pm but it wasn’t until 330pm before I got my food. They had served 3 other guests who all came after 3pm. I have no idea how they decided on the sequence since we all ordered the same sets.

Secondly, you can only choose one tea or coffee flavour, and have your pot topped up only once. Can you imagine how desperately I tried to ration my intake? I can understand if it’s to prevent unnecessary wastage in the rare event a customer requests to change her tea flavour after a sip but allowing only one top up for the entire 2 hours is just unreasonable. My tea was cold way before I finished even half my set.


Now onto the food. The appetiser was a disappointment. I had the scrambled eggs with sea urchin, ikura and caviar. These three delicacies combined makes for an interesting taste in your mouth, but it was not enough for the entire scrambled egg. By the time I was finishing, I couldn’t tell what I was eating. The egg tasted bland. Was it even scrambled eggs to begin?


My partner had the dim sum appetiser because he doesn’t take the three delicacies. I can’t remember much about the taste. It was unmemorable.

Fortunately, the rest of the pastries, savouries and scones were pretty good. I liked their scones! The macarons were pretty unique as well — black sesame executed in style. The cute strawberry cake was, well, cute. Gimmicky? Maybe, but the overall¬†the presentation makes for a great conversation starter since it doesn’t come in your usual three tier circle display.

For a hefty price tag of $48++ per pax, I must say that I really had better, more pleasant high tea experiences elsewhere for the same price.

80 Bras Basah Road, Singapore 189560

Monday to Thursday 3pm – 5pm

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, PH and eve of PH

12pm – 2pm

3pm – 5pm

+65 6431 5315

Website: http://www.fairmont.com/singapore

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